Donald Trump remains heavily favored for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but just last week he said: “You always have to talk about health. You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying come see me again. That’s not good when they use the word again.” Trump will be 78 by the time the next presidential election rolls around. He looks spry and in command next to Old Joe Biden, who, if he is still pretending to be president by then and is running for reelection, will be 81; still, one never knows, especially at that age, and so there is persistent talk of other possibilities for the Republicans in 2024. On Tuesday, former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney offered an extremely unlikely one.
Mulvaney told Politico: “[Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis could give him a run for his money. [South Carolina Sen.] Tim Scott can give him a run for his money. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson could give him a run for his money. It’s a short list.”
Yes, that’s right. The Rock. An actor and former pro wrestler. A media personality. If you never thought of him as presidential timber, you’re not alone, but after Old Joe Biden, Dwayne Johnson has a chance to look like Thomas Jefferson.
Running for president is apparently on The Rock’s mind as well as Mulvaney’s. According to Mediaite, Johnson “has openly flirted with a presidential bid for years. His White House ambitions date back to 2017 when he told GQ there was a ‘real possibility’ he would run. He ultimately passed on the 2020 race, but in several 2021 interviews, he reiterated that a future bid may yet be in the cards.” Johnson has said: “I would consider a presidential run in the future if that’s what the people wanted. Truly I mean that, and I’m not flippant in any way with my answer. That would be up to the people … So I would wait, and I would listen. I would have my finger on the pulse, my ear to the ground.”
All right. But if Johnson does run for president, what makes Mulvaney think that he would be any significant challenger to Trump? If Johnson runs at all, he may not even run as a Republican. He voted for Barack Obama twice and endorsed Old Joe Biden in 2020. It’s hard to see how someone with that kind of record could appeal to Trump’s core supporters in the Republican Party unless Johnson shows that he has had some kind of political awakening and is an America-First candidate now.
But that is unlikely. The primary obstacle to a Dwayne Johnson presidency, as entertaining as it may be, is not that Johnson has no political experience or that he has a background in entertainment. As the years go by, it will become increasingly clear that Trump himself, also with no political experience and a background in entertainment, was a remarkably effective president. (Remember gas prices under two dollars? Remember Putin staying in his lane and not invading anywhere? Remember when we had a Southern border?) So theoretically, Johnson could turn out to be an effective president as well.
The primary obstacle to his mounting a successful run, however, can be summed up in two words: Joe Rogan. Back in February, when the whole woke world was coming down on Rogan for daring to depart from COVID orthodoxy, Johnson commented on a video Rogan made about the controversy: “Great stuff here brother. Perfectly articulated. Look forward to coming on one day and breaking out the tequila with you.” But then hard-Left novelist Don Winslow tweeted: “Dear @TheRock, You’re a hero to many people and using your platform to defend Joe Rogan, a guy that used and laughed about using the N word dozens of times, is a terrible use of your power. Have you actually listened to this man’s many racist statements about Black people?” Johnson immediately turned on Rogan, tweeting: “Dear @donwinslow Thank you so much for this I hear you as well as everyone here 100% I was not aware of his N word use prior to my comments, but now I’ve become educated to his complete narrative. Learning moment for me. Mahalo, brother and have a great & productive weekend. DJ.”
Yes: Rogan shouldn’t have used the notorious racial slur and of course apologized. Yet Johnson himself has mocked Chinese and Swedish accents, and has responded to a woman, “Shut up, b***h,” and Winslow himself has used the same racial slur numerous times. Johnson should have recognized that the controversy over Rogan’s language was a tactic designed to render him toxic and discredit his opinions that challenged those of the elites. Instead, he played into the hands of those who routinely claim that conservative speech is beyond the pale and must be silenced as if it were all in the category of racial insults.
We do not, in sum, need a coward as president. We already have a puppet socialist. We need a courageous free person. Dwayne Johnson is not the one.